Serving Suggestion: Nachos

Cheesy nachos with chopped onion and cilantro and fresh guacamaole

Cheesy nachos with chopped onion, cilantro and fresh guacamole.

Ok, first, my apologies for yet another low quality photo, but, I think it’s better than no photo at all!  My version of nachos is fairly simple, more wholesome and healthy and yes, they are cheesy good too.

I started with a double batch of flax crackers, rolled out very thin between to pieces of parchment.

I used these fresh baked flax crisps in place of traditional corn chips, spread out fairly evenly on a baking sheet.

Dice up some onion, shred some cheese- a sharp, raw cheddar is what I used- mix the two together and liberally cover the flax crisps.

Bake or broil until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Take them out and sprinkle with a generous amount of chopped cilantro.  These are nachos so feel free to serve/eat them right from the baking sheet.

Top with fresh guacamole: I make mine with pressed raw garlic, cumin and chili powder, salt, fresh lime juice and a couple of ripe avocados, plus more cilantro.

This is a hearty snack or meal that pairs well with a big green salad like this one made with mostly cilantro or this raw kale salad, just skip the cheese!

Curried Roasted Cauliflower

Here’s another quick and simple recipe.  If you don’t have all the spices listed, don’t worry, use what you have, it will still be awesome!

Roasted cauliflower with Indian spices, chopped cilantro and mayo-sriracha dipping sauce.

Chop one head of cauliflower into more or less even pieces.

Toss in a large bowl with:

enough olive oil or melted ghee to coat

Add equal amounts of: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, your favorite curry powder and mashed coriander seeds

a dash of asafoetida

and as much sriracha as you like.

Mix well to coat evenly.

Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast at 350 for 20-25 min. til cooked through but not mushy.

Crispify under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

Dana made a mayo/sriracha dipping sauce to go with the roasted curried cauliflower, awesome!

Souper Immunity!

If you really want an immune boost come visit our booth at Alchemy’s Handmade Holiday Festival, this Friday evening and Saturday from 10-5 pm.  We will be handing out Fire Cider samples and selling our holiday edition wax sealed bottles as well as herbal bath soaks, unique tee shirts from A Fine Example and other great handmade gifties!

Dana just made turkey stock from the Thanksgiving carcass (thank you Meat Market!) and it came out really well.  Soup stock made from simmering an organic, healthy animal has tons of nutrition in it.  If you don’t have a day to simmer, here’s an easier immune boosting soup recipe from my doctor in NYC.

'Tis the season for soup!

Superimmunity Soup from Dr. Vincent Pedre

When you need an immune pick-me-up, try this superimmunity soup to charge up your immune system and ward off that cold.  It contains many common vegetables that we all enjoy, but feel free to vary the recipe by adding your own winter vegetables.  You may vary the mushroom used from shiitake to reishi or maitake, all are highly medicinal.  It is ideal to always add the astragalus, but it may be harder to find at your local grocery store.  Astragalus may actually require a trip to Chinatown or to Mountain Rose Herbs on-line.

Also, remove any ingredients you don’t enjoy.  For example, I am an avid cilantro lover, so I always add cilantro to my soups, but there are those among that may not share my enthusiasm.  Feel free to quietly omit the cilantro and use parsley instead.  You can also use the soup recipe to make a vegetable stock to use in other recipes.

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients

1 yellow onion

2 large organic carrots

2 stalks of organic celery

1 head of kale

30g dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms

30g dried astragalus root

1-2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

10 garlic cloves (chopped or whole)

1 bunch of cilantro

¼ cup olive oil

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash and cut the vegetables
  2. For extra browning and flavor, you can sauté the vegetables with olive oil or sesame oil
  3. Wash the mushrooms and astragalus root and place into pot
  4. Pour cold water into a large soup pot up to 3/4 full, add all vegetables, and bring to a boil
  5. Lower the heat, and cook uncovered for 40 minutes
  6. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste
  7. Cool down and enjoy!
If you have an autoimmune condition or other chronic disease, you should consult with your doctor before taking medicinal herbs or mushrooms.  Read Dr. Pedre’s whole post about immune boosting for the winter….and don’t forget to take your daily dose of Fire Cider!!!

Smokey Cilantro Romanesco

Romanesco, the cruciferous family's model vegetable!

Romanesco is similar to broccoli and cauliflower and so you can substitute either of those vegetables in this recipe.  Dana and I have a lot of romanesco growing in our gardens and will be selling some to local restaurants in the coming weeks. This very cool looking plant was first discovered in Italy in the 16th century.  It has a mild flavor similar to cauliflower but it certainly sets itself apart from the rest of the cruciferous veggies with its’ chartreuse coloring and cool growth pattern that makes a logarithmic spiral.

A head of romanesco chopped in half. You can see the individual branches that make up the spiral head.

For this easy roasted meal you’ll need a head of romanesco or cauliflower, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces.  Set your oven to 365.

Then, on a large, shallow baking sheet, mix the chopped romanesco pieces with enough olive oil to coat, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, hot paprika, ground chipotle pepper and salt, to taste.

Use your hands to mix everything together.   Make sure to lick your fingers when you are done mixing, if it tastes good, pop the tray in the oven.  If not, adjust the seasonings and repeat!

Oven ready: well oiled, seasoned and tossed.

While the Romanesco roasts in the oven at 365, roughly chop a handful of fresh cilantro.

Grate some cheese, I used smoked Grafton cheddar from the Berkshire Co-op, the smokey cheese went perfectly with the hot smokey chipotle and the paprika.

The Romanesco can take anywhere from 20-35 minutes, so cook it til it’s done and finish it under the broiler if it needs more browning but not much more cooking.  You want it to be browned on the outside but with a bit of crunch left inside.

The addition of shredded smoked cheddar really makes the dish!

Finally, toss the finished romanesco with the chopped cilantro, a splash of fresh lime, and the shredded cheese.  Eat immediately and enjoy any leftovers hot or cold the next day.

Cilantro Sesame Salad

Cilantro salad from Xian Famous Foods on Bayard St, NYC

On my last visit to NYC my roommate and I decided to try the new place across the street, Xian Famous Foods, on the recommendation of the No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain that their lamb burgers were amazing.  I’m not into burgers so much anymore so I chose the only thing on the menu that was all veggie, a cilantro salad.  It was refreshing, light and had a little kick to it.  My roommate attests that it was a perfect complement to the lamb burger which was pretty damn good if you ask him.

If you are like me you grow or buy herbs to use as an accent in a particular dish and then find yourself, a week later guiltily tossing what remains of that big bunch of herbs into the compost.  Well, guilty compost no more, try a this herb based salad instead, it’s simple and nutritious and a great way to use up a lot of cilantro at once.  Aside from being a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium and phytonutrients, cilantro has been effectively used to help remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body.  This recipe can easily be doubled and makes 2 side servings.

Ingredients for the dressing:

2 Tablespoons Sesame oil

1 Tablespoon Brown rice vinegar

Salt to taste

Splash of Mirin

Optional: chili garlic sauce or hot pepper flakes.

For the salad:

Small bunch of cilantro, sorted, long stems removed

4 scallions, white ends and light green parts julienned

1 celery heart, leaves roughly chopped and the rest julienned

1 medium hot pepper, thinly sliced into rings (I didn’t have one so I used a bit of chili garlic sauce in the dressing.)

Cilantro salad with dressing ingredients: chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and mirin.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and adjust the proportions to your liking.

Prep all the veggies and add them to your bowl with the dressing.

Toss together and enjoy!

Nutritive Paste, Not Your Grandma’s Marmite

The hardest thing about going through a Candida elimination is the apparent lack of food to eat.  And the need for that food to be optimally nutritious and easy to digest.  My husband has a thing for Marmite, that yeast based nutritive paste that was England’s answer to keeping the poor alive as cheaply and easily as possible.  Mmmmm, kinda tastes that way too.  Marmite, if you like the way the salt sucker punches your taste buds and then drops a days worth of  B vitamins on your palate via yeast concentrate, does do it’s job of adding vitamins to your breakfast toast.   If you are like me, products en general, especially those made with yeast, cause upset to my delicate digestive system.  I do however love the idea of making a concentrated super nutrient dense food that could be spread on flax crackers, eaten over a salad, with fresh crudités or as a flavoring agent in soups and meat dishes.  Really the possibilities are endless. And sometimes I just eat them with a spoon.

Pesto by the spoonful, yeah, I ate that.

I like to have food ready to go because I am chronically forgetting to eat until I’m just starving and in no mood to cook.  Having washed and prepped veggies plus one of several dressings or dips all ready to go makes things much easier.  I can put together a healthy snack or meal pretty quickly.

The following suggestions and recipes will keep well in your refrigerator for over a week and can also be frozen (I use an ice cube tray so I have single serve cubes).  Each one is about half leafy herbs, known for being packed with vitamins, minerals and lots of taste, way more fun than taking multi vitamins and, I would argue, better for you.  Leafy greens, herbs and vegetables, provide our bodies with essential nutrients including a connection to the sun, earth and our environment.  Buy local organic greens or grow your own, it’s almost that time of year again, that’s the rumor anyway.

The other half of each recipe is good for you fats, like nuts, oils and seeds.  They are called essential fatty acids because they are essential.   They help your brain to function optimally, your body to insulate and protect your organs, as well as keep down inflammation.  The omegas also lubricate your joints and digestive system, and keep your skin glowing and elastic.  Fat from plants and even properly raised and cared for animals has much to offer.

I have already posted a recipe for two kinds of Goddess dressing.  Both can be made thick and used as a dip, spread (if you eat bread, this makes a great sandwich addition) or salad dressing.  You can also try using it as a topping for cooked fish, meat or soy.

Pesto can be made and used the same way.  I like it with spaghetti squash or flax crackers and cheese!

Here’s basic pesto:

A big bunch of basil leaves, a handful of pine nuts, olive oil to the right consistency, a few cloves or more garlic and salt.  Blend using a quisinart type appliance or blender.

And a Few Variations:

Greek olives and/or sun-dried tomatoes

Use walnuts or pecans instead of the pine nuts.

Romano cheese (if you can eat cheese!)

Use half basil and half parsley for an extra vitamin c kick.

Walnut Miso with Parsley

Another variation on this theme uses the basic walnut miso recipe I posted earlier, then add a big bunch of parsley and a little olive or walnut oil to get the consistency correct.

Cilantro y Pepitas

If you like cilantro try a big bunch blended with pepitas, garlic, salt, neutral oil like sunflower, and maybe some lime and smokey pepper.

Or, make up your own, the formula is simple, lots of leafy green herbs, oil and nuts or seeds, salt, garlic (this helps it keep longer in the fridge) and maybe some spices, vinegar or citrus to round out the flavor.  Go on, add some serious nutrition and taste to your diet!

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